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Mar 26, 2008

Collet delegates to hear from Fonseca and Briceno

Story PictureThere’s not a whole lot of time but between now and Sunday the two candidates vying to lead the People’s United Party—Francis Fonseca and John Briceño—will be campaigning hard for the hearts, minds and—most importantly—the votes of the over six hundred delegates attending the convention. And while much of the media buzz has focused on the two men in the race, little has been heard from the delegates themselves, who are being wooed both individually and collectively. Today News Five’s Ann-Marie Williams spoke to one Belize City politician whose dilemma is typical of that faced by other defeated P.U.P. standard bearers.

Carolyn Trench-Sandiford, Collet Delegate
“To choose a leader is very important because remember democracy is not just about the party in government, it’s also the party in opposition. So you are looking at a leader who can be a strong opposition leader as well as a prime minister in waiting because when you’re in opposition you’re the party in waiting for government. So certainly we can’t be very trivial about it and again it’s not a popularity contest because many times I think people think these things are popularity contest. For us in Collet, no it’s not. It’s very serious and because of that what we are doing, we have invited both candidates to speak to our delegates to let us hear what they have to offer.”

“I think one of the important issues for us or the fundamental issues for us is the issue of cohesiveness. You know we’ve recently lost an election. Our party, to a large extent, has been ripped apart by dividing factors each having their own views as to the decisions of the party and why the party has lost and certainly you’re looking at someone who can unify, somebody who can reconcile differences and somebody who can bridge the gap; bring the party together. But I think as important we’re looking for a leader who has the courage and the conviction to want to undergo what we call a self critique and a self analysis of our party.”

“It’s not only about broadening the people who are participating in our processes, whether it’s the leadership convention or whether it’s other decision-making process. It’s about how deep we can make that participation. And when I say that sometimes you go to these party council meetings and one set of people say so many things and the discussion gets into personalities like the last one we had. It was about personalities. You have to move away from that. You have to move into what is meaningful to the party. What is P.U.P. to the ordinary man in the street? It’s not about the lawyers and the bankers. And sometimes when you listen to certain decision and some of the allegations that have taken place against the party you hear a lot about lawyers and bankers and big time investment people but what happens to the people on the streets; the people who push the cart, the little tamales man, the ordinary public officers the electronics, the plumber. So If we’re going to talk about embracing change it’s not just about change it has to be meaningful. It has to be broader, including more people and it has to be deeper.”

Ann-Marie Williams
“I listen to former Prime Minister George Price and he was explicit in saying that they’re looking for a leader who’s one hundred percent P.U.P. I heard nothing in it about love for the country or promoting the country for the greater good. Speak to that.”

Carolyn Trench-Sandiford
“I felt, I think our delegates have been looking at is the issue of nationalism and the issue of Collet because we are from Collet. The cry for the people of Collet when I remember campaigning both in the municipal and general election is that people that felt P.U.P. to a large extent had not done what they should for a Collet. At the same time we have to accept that you need people that are going to advocate and agitate. So if yo noh gah nobody di advocate and agitate, fine. But at the same time we have to know what that leader is going to bring for Collet and we have to know that leader is going to bring for our country.”

The Collet constituency has fifteen delegates voting in Sunday’s leadership convention. That event gets underway at ten at the Belmopan Civic Centre.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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